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Best Trash Compactors

Best Trash Compactors

We spent more than 45 hours researching and evaluating trash compactors. Based on what we found, we believe the Kenmore Elite 14733 is the best one. In addition to a normal compacting cycle, it has a stronger EXTRA PAC cycle that lets you press more trash into one load. The Kenmore Elite 14733 has a compression ratio of 5-to-1, so it can cut the volume of trash from your household by as much as 80 percent. 

ProductPriceOverall RatingPricing & WarrantyPerformanceConveniencesWarranty (years)Compaction RatioNumber of Compression CyclesAnti-Jamming FunctionBin Size (cubic feet)Foot ControlAir Freshener SystemSide Release for BagLocking Capability
Kenmore Elite 14733View Deal5/54.85515 to 121.4
Maytag MTUC7500AFM4.5/54.54.851 (10/parts)5 to 111.4
KitchenAid KTTS505EPAView Deal4.5/54.44.8515 to 111.4
Kenmore 14729View Deal4/554.52.514 to 111.4
Whirlpool TU950QPXSView Deal4/ to 111.4
GE Universal UCG1680LSSView Deal2/ to 111.4
Gladiator GACP15XXMGView Deal3.5/ to 111.4

Best Overall

Kenmore Elite 14733

Kenmore Elite 14733

Two compression cycles
Convenient side-release bin
Hidden, lockable controls
Air freshener discs need to be replaced regularly
No custom panel to blend machine with your cupboards
No fan in the air freshener system

The Kenmore Elite 14733 trash compactor has two compacting modes: Normal Pac and EXTRA PAC. EXTRA PAC presses down trash longer so you can fit more in a single load. This Kenmore model has a compression ratio of 5-to-1, so it can cut your overall trash volume by as much as 80 percent.

You open the machine by either lifting and pulling a handle or pushing a foot pedal. Using its side-release feature, you can pull out the bag without hoisting it straight up, is easier on your back.

The compactor’s controls are tucked away behind the front door, so it looks sleek. Also, the Kenmore Elite 14733 comes three in colors: silver, black and white. However, you can’t purchase a custom panel to make the machine look like your cupboards.

This Kenmore Elite model uses an air freshening system to eliminate unpleasant smells, though the solid air freshener discs do not come with the machine – you need to buy them separately and change them about every four to six weeks. It’s also easy to take the trash bin out to thoroughly clean the compactor.

Read the full review

Most Portable

Gladiator Garage Compactor GACP15XXMG

Gladiator Garage Compactor GACP15XXMG

Is sturdy and compact
Moves on rolling casters
Works anywhere you have access to an outlet
No deodorizing system
Rugged exterior looks odd in a kitchen
4-to-1 compression ratio is a bit low

The Gladiator Garage Compactor GACP15XXMG is a basic, small, relatively low-priced trash compactor. Its primary selling point is it comes with wheels, so you can move it around and use it anywhere you have an electrical outlet. You lock the front caster wheels by pushing a lever with your foot, and the rear castors swivel so you can turn the machine when you need to move it.

This Gladiator model’s portability is beneficial because you can store it in the garage and take it wherever you have lots of trash. For example, you can wheel the machine to a mess left in your backyard from a family picnic or over to your car to clean out the trash that’s accumulated inside.

The Garage Compactor GACP15XXMG is easy to use: You open it with a toe kick and can slide the bin out. When you open the drawer, a switch turns the machine on or off, and it takes a minute for the ram to fully compact trash. It has a 4-to-1 compression ratio – it can compact four bags of trash into one.

It has a tough metal cover that doesn’t show dings as much as other compactor’s front panels, although its rugged exterior might look odd in a kitchen. The Garage Compactor GACP15XXMG has one drawback, namely that it doesn’t include an air freshening system. However, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, since it is intended to be stored in the garage.

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Best Value

Kenmore 14729

Kenmore 14729

Removable keys
Automatic anti-jamming feature
Compaction cycle needs to run often
No odor filtering system
Lower compression ratio than the best models

The modestly priced Kenmore 14729 trash compactor is surprisingly rich in features and includes nearly everything higher priced models have.

However, it’s missing an air freshening system, which may be a deal breaker for some people. Still, for many, this trash compactor’s benefits likely outweigh that shortcoming.

This Kenmore model opens with a nudge to its foot control, and inside there is a 1.4-cubic-foot drawer. The machine can compress four bags of trash into one, which is a bit less than the best models we reviewed, though still respectable.

When the Kenmore 14729 finishes compressing, you use a latching mechanism that tilts the drawer sideways to make it easy to remove the bag. This makes the chore easy on your back because you don’t have to hoist the bag straight upward.

The machine also includes an anti-jamming feature that automatically stops the compression cycle if something goes wrong. You can lock the Kenmore 14729 trash compactor when you aren’t using it and hide the key so curious kids can’t hurt themselves playing with it.

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Best Customization

KitchenAid KTTS505EPA

Most trash compactors come in one or two colors, but you can customize the front of the KitchenAid KTTS505EPA to match your kitchen cabinetry.

It comes in black, stainless steel or white or a panel-ready front to make the machine blend in seamlessly with your kitchen décor. This model has a 5-to-1 compaction ratio means it can squish five trash bags down to the size of one and on top of that, the 1/3 HP engine inside is incredibly quiet. Fans and charcoal filters keep the compactor from getting too smelly and if you do decide to clean it, roll the bucket out of the compactor. The bin side is a standard 1.4 cubic feet, but what really makes this trash compactor stand out is the customizable front.

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Best Warranty

Maytag MTUC7500AFM

Maytag MTUC7500AFM

It can compact five bags of trash into the size of one
The foot pedal is hard to operate

Almost all the trash compactors we evaluated include a 1-year warranty and that's it.

The Maytag MTUC7500AFM, however, comes with a 10 year warranty on parts, which really comes in handy if something goes wrong. It has a great 5-to-1 compaction ratio and is easy-to-use. The only downside is this trash compactor's foot pedal, which isn't as functional as others we reviewed at. This model is available in silver, black or white and reduces the volume of garbage by 80 percent. This, partnered with a great warranty package, make this Maytag a great option.

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Why Trust Us?

We have been researching, evaluating and rating trash compactors since 2014. To start, we researched numerous trash compactor models made by well-known manufacturers, examining the features that contribute to the machines’ power, performance, safety and convenience. Also, even with something as seemingly utilitarian as a trash compactor, we evaluated aesthetics.

During this process, we read manufacturer websites and user manuals, checked online reviews, and perhaps most important of all, interviewed experts who work with and repair these machines daily. After that, we determined which factors are most important and logged our research into a weighted chart. Then, we used a proprietary ranking system to help us decide which trash compactors we should highlight.

How We Researched 

We spent more than 45 hours researching and evaluating trash compactors. Among other things, we looked each model’s interior size, compression ratio, price and warranty. We gathered information from manufacturer websites, looked closely at consumer reviews, checked user manuals and read the warranties. In addition, we watched demo videos of how different trash compactors work.

We also considered how easy each trash compactor is to use. For example, many have convenient features such as foot-operated controls that allow you to open the compactor when you’re holding trash. Some models also have bins that open to the side, which makes taking trash out much easier and can prevent back strain. In addition, models with removable drawers let you fully clean inside the machine.

Expert Advice

Trash compaction is good for the environment and your household, according to Melinda Aguilar, a sales representative with Renwes Appliances, who was interviewed by Amy Preiser for a “House Beautiful” article. When asked what she’d say to a skeptic about trash compactors, Aguilar said, “I’d say that all the negative things you think of are taken care of – they’re not smelly, noisy, bulky. They’re convenient. You take out the trash less, you contribute less to the landfill. But this is the coolest thing: If every single household in the U.S. had a trash compactor, our landfills could be reduced by 80 percent.”

However, things can go wrong with trash compactors that might require a service call from a repair person. John Ritchie, the technician manager at Cody’s Appliance Repair in Eagle, Idaho, has worked on trash compactors and has seen some glitches. He has found that people sometimes overfill a compactor and then neglect to make sure the drawer is properly back in position before starting it, which causes the machine to jam or lock itself down. “There is room for user error,” Ritchie said.

What to Look for in a Trash Compactor 


Before looking at any trash compactors, measure the area you plan to store yours. Most models are of the under-counter variety, although there are freestanding compactors. You can also buy a portable trash compactor you can wheel to messes in your yard, vehicle, garage or elsewhere, then return to the place you typically keep it.

One important consideration is the compaction ratio. A ratio of 4-to-1 means the machine can crush the average volume of four bags into the size of one. That means more trash taking up less space. However, it also means the bags are heavier, so you need to consider what you can lift.

Many good-quality models have a toe bar – a switch on the bottom that opens the compactor when you push it with your foot. When you're holding trash to toss, this small feature can make a big difference. It's also great to get a trash compactor that includes an air freshener system or charcoal filter to cut down on odors.

How Much Does a Trash Compactor Cost?

The Trash Compactors we researched cost an average of $891, so buying one of is no small decision. More expensive models generally crush more trash. Owning one does greatly reduce the number of trips you take to the curbside dump, so despite costing a lot they’re very convenient.

How Do You Clean a Trash Compactor?

Cleaning your trash compactor is a good way to keep it odor free. And cleaning it isn’t difficult – just make sure you unplug it before you begin.

First, remove the trash bag and the drawer from the cabinet. Using a vacuum, suck up any loose crumbs or debris in the trash collector. You can then use a mild cleaner and warm water to wipe down the inside, outside and the drawer. You don’t need to use harsh chemicals. An antibacterial soap or a cleaner like Pine-Sol works well enough. We do recommend wearing protective gloves while cleaning.

Before replacing the drawer and putting in a new trash bag, make sure every part is dried. This will cut down on mold and additional unpleasant smells popping up. If your trash compactor cabinet is wood, you can use a wood cleaner or polish on the outside. If it has a metal or stainless steel finish, you can find appliance cleaner at your local grocery store that will help remove fingerprints and other smudges.